NewEnergyNews: On The Road Reading - BrightSource Argues for a New Way to Value Solar Power Plants; Net market value measures all the benefits and costs of delivering energy into the system.

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YESTERDAY

THINGS-TO-THINK-ABOUT THURSDAY, December 8:

  • TTTA Thursday- The Record Of The New EPA Head
  • TTTA Thursday-The Undeveloped New Energy
  • TTTA Thursday-Walking On New Energy
  • TTTA Thursday-Electric Tractor For Emissions-Free.Farming
  • THE DAY BEFORE

  • ORIGINAL REPORTING: Turning Distributed Energy From Threat To Opportunity
  • ORIGINAL REPORTING: Solar Policy Action Heats Up
  • ORIGINAL REPORTING: Maine’s Almost Solar Policy Breakthrough
  • THE DAY BEFORE THE DAY BEFORE

  • TODAY’S STUDY: How To Balance Competing Solar Interests
  • QUICK NEWS, December 6: Sliver Of Hope? Al Gore In Climate Change Meet With Donald Trump; The Opportunity In New Energy; Google Seizing New Energy Opportunity
  • THE DAY BEFORE THAT

  • TODAY’S STUDY: A Way For New Energy To Meet Peak Demand
  • QUICK NEWS, December 5: Trial Of The Century Coming On Climate; The Wind-Solar Synergy; The Still Rising Sales Of Cars With Plugs
  • AND THE DAY BEFORE THAT

  • Weekend Video: Trump Truth And Climate Change
  • Weekend Video: The Daily Show Talks Pipeline Politics
  • Weekend Video: Beyond Polar Bears – The Real Science Of Climate Change
  • THE LAST DAY UP HERE

  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-Aussie Farmers Worrying About Climate Change
  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-The Climate Change Solution At Hand, Part 1
  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-The Climate Change Solution At Hand, Part 2
  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-New Energy And Historic Buildings In Europe
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    Anne B. Butterfield of Daily Camera and Huffington Post, f is an occasional contributor to NewEnergyNews

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    Some of Anne's contributions:

  • Another Tipping Point: US Coal Supply Decline So Real Even West Virginia Concurs (REPORT), November 26, 2013
  • SOLAR FOR ME BUT NOT FOR THEE ~ Xcel's Push to Undermine Rooftop Solar, September 20, 2013
  • NEW BILLS AND NEW BIRDS in Colorado's recent session, May 20, 2013
  • Lies, damned lies and politicians (October 8, 2012)
  • Colorado's Elegant Solution to Fracking (April 23, 2012)
  • Shale Gas: From Geologic Bubble to Economic Bubble (March 15, 2012)
  • Taken for granted no more (February 5, 2012)
  • The Republican clown car circus (January 6, 2012)
  • Twenty-Somethings of Colorado With Skin in the Game (November 22, 2011)
  • Occupy, Xcel, and the Mother of All Cliffs (October 31, 2011)
  • Boulder Can Own Its Power With Distributed Generation (June 7, 2011)
  • The Plunging Cost of Renewables and Boulder's Energy Future (April 19, 2011)
  • Paddling Down the River Denial (January 12, 2011)
  • The Fox (News) That Jumped the Shark (December 16, 2010)
  • Click here for an archive of Butterfield columns

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  • WEEKEND VIDEOS, December 10-11:

  • A Climate Change Denier’s Lies Exposed
  • The Good News Numbers On The EV Boom
  • “This Is Just The Beginning”

    Thursday, September 13, 2012

    On The Road Reading - BrightSource Argues for a New Way to Value Solar Power Plants; Net market value measures all the benefits and costs of delivering energy into the system.

    On The Road Reading - BrightSource Argues for a New Way to Value Solar Power Plants; Net market value measures all the benefits and costs of delivering energy into the system.

    Herman K. Trabish, May 14, 2012 (Greentech Media)

    How do you accurately assess and effectively manage the costs of integrating the new kind of variability from renewables like wind and solar into transmission systems that are habituated to the more familiar standards of fossil and nuclear generation?

    The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) is considering a new formula for such a cost assessment. In his April 5 Rulemaking, Commissioner Mark Ferron described a “least cost, best fit” formula for capturing the full range of costs and benefits of renewables selected to meet the state’s 33 percent renewables by 2020 renewable portfolio standard (RPS).

    In it, the Net Market Value (R) of a generation source is defined as: [Energy Value (E) + Capacity Value (C)] - [Post-Time-of-Delivery Adjusted Power Purchase Agreement Price (P) + Transmission Network Upgrade Costs (T) + Congestion Costs (G) + Integration Costs (I)]

    For an Adjusted Net Market Value (A), the CPUC would sum that Net Market Value (R) and Ancillary Services Value (S).

    This is complicated stuff and researchers have not yet defined all of those factors. But it is a more effective way, explained BrightSource Energy Vice President for Government Affairs and Communications Joe Desmond, of evaluating the value a generation source is delivering into the system. “There is a lot of work being done in this area -- studies by NREL, studies by Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, studies by the Cal ISO -- and they’re all converging on the need to look at the full cost of operating a system when we choose and compare among different resources.”

    A group of Bingham McCutchen LLP attorneys said the formulation would “dramatically change the way utilities purchase renewable energy in California.” It proposes “to increase substantially the role of transmission planning in renewable procurement,” they said, and, with the addition of ancillary services into the equation, includes a generation source’s “potential positive impact on grid operation.”

    The attorneys noted that until now, renewables developers have sited their projects “where the wind blows, the sun shines or geothermal resources are accessible” and have relied on an ‘if you build-it-transmission-will-come paradigm.'” The new value formulation, the attorneys concluded, would promote development of “cost-effective and location-appropriate transmission first.” It could save ratepayers $7.2 billion in the RPS procurement process.

    Desmond said the new, comprehensive method of valuation proposed by the CPUC shows the concentrating solar power (CSP) plants with energy storage developed by BrightSourceor SolarReserve will be highly valuable to utilities in their pursuit of meeting the RPS without compromising reliability.

    “Our customers are utilities. We have to provide them with value. Utilities are obligated to balance reliability, affordability and environmental stewardship,” Desmond explained. “A utility has different ways of meeting the energy requirements for their customers,” he went on, describing how utilities must procure base load units, intermediate units and peaking units “to comply with the required reliability standards.”

    Renewables “like wind and PV and to some extent CSP without storage will vary,” Desmond said. Due to this variability, utilities that procure them require balancing generation to maintain reliability. “Output variability impacts grid operations and adds costs, integration costs for ancillary services, spinning reserves, non-spinning reserves, and other types ofmarket products,” Desmond said.

    Wind, for instance, may be most productive “during off-peak hours, which is not in alignment with the system’s maximum demand.” During a 2006 California “heat storm,” Desmond noted, “the California ISO reached its all-time maximum demand” and had “about 3,000 megawatts of wind available,” but “the amount of wind delivering electricity into the system when it hit its peak demand was 1 percent.”

    What it comes down to, Desmond said, is that “not all megawatt-hours are created equal. The time of delivery, when it shows up on the system, has value. Energy delivered at different times of the day has different values. And on-peak availability carries the highest value.” CSP with storage can deliver power whenever demand is peaking and that, Desmond said, “is worth anywhere from two to three times what it is compared to off-peak.”

    Desmond made a convincing case for the value of the BrightSource solar power towertechnology that uses high-temperature, high-pressure steam and can incorporate molten salt storage to meet whatever peaking period a local utility may have.

    “How much storage makes sense is an economic optimization question,” Desmond said. “What you have to focus on is the total value of the energy being delivered to the market.”

    The BrightSource 126-megawatt Ivanpah One project now being built in the Mojave Desert near Las Vegas and on schedule to go into production early next year “has a 32 percent capacity factor,” Desmond said.

    Capacity factor, the CPUC formula shows, plays a major role in the value of a generation resource.

    “When we add storage, the capacity factor increases,” Desmond said, adding, “If we add between two and six hours of storage, the capacity factor will be above 50 percent.”

    But, Desmond said, “You’re not necessarily increasing your cost at the same rate. You’re taking your fixed costs and spreading them out over more hours, which helps drive down cost. Therein lies that economic optimization.”

    In an upcoming sequel to this piece, GTM will take a close look at BrightSource Energy’s technology and plans.

    Note, September 13: Construction on Ivanpah reached the halfway point earlier this month, on schedule and on budget.

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